Nine-year-old masters world’s hardest game

Go-getter: More than 20 million people play Go across east Asia.

What is it like to be a child genius? Sumire Nakamura has become the youngest ever professional player of Go, the world’s hardest board game, aged just nine.

What’s happening

Nine-year-old Sumire Nakamura goes to primary school in Osaka, Japan. She also happens to be the world’s youngest professional Go player.

Go is an ancient Chinese board game that is 10 times more complicated than chess.

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Nakamura started playing Go when she was three, and was competing in tournaments by the age of seven.

“I’m happy when I win,” said Nakamura. “I want to have a title while being in junior high school.”

Go was invented around 2,500 years ago in China. In the game, two players take turns placing black or white stones on a board. The aim is to control more of the board than your opponent.

The record books are full of young people carrying out incredible feats. Jordan Romero climbed Mount Everest aged 13, while 11-year-old golfer Lucy Li played in the US Open.

The most famous early achiever of all was the composer Mozart, who wrote his first symphony aged eight.

What would it be like being a child genius?

Some say…

It would be brilliant! Child geniuses can achieve things in their early lives that most people will never do. You would not have to work hard to do well in school, and you could end up doing your dream job like being a rocket scientist or writing music.

Others think…

Children should be running around and playing with their friends, not spending hours every day in training. It would be lonely, and you would be under lots of pressure to be the best. You don’t have to be a genius to be happy and successful.

You Decide

  1. What would you do if you were a genius?

Activities

  1. If you could be the best in the world at one thing, what would it be? Imagine that this dream has come true, and write a diary entry describing your life, how you practise, and what is good and bad about being the best.

Some People Say...

“We are all geniuses up to the age of 10.”

Aldous Huxley

What do you think?

Word Watch

Opponent
The person you are playing against.
Feats
Achievements.
US Open
One of the biggest golf competitions.
Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a classical composer from Austria who lived from 1756 to 1791.
Symphony
A long piece of music written for a full orchestra.

Subjects

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